Where are those days when we played dandi biyo, kabaddi, chungi, guccha, baghchal and other games that have their origins here in our very own country? Games like cricket, football, tennis, F1, and basketball have replaced these games in our playgrounds and to a large extent, in our hearts too.

It is high time for us to rejuvenate all the lost Nepali sports and bring them back to life. We can learn a lot from an example from Japan’s sumo wrestling.

UEFA Champions League and Indian Premier League just concluded with a new European champion and an IPL champion. Wimbeldon Tennis is all set to begin. MotoGP UK Race is also in the offing. June is the month for the ultimate sports fanatic. Most of your calendars might already have been marked with the dates of the fixtures but has anyone cared to think about Nepali games?

 ‘When I was young, I played kabaddievery evening in a small ground in our neighborhood. Now I see kids playing weird games every time I walk past the same ground,’ says Jeet Bahadur Thapa, an officer at Nepal Rastra Bank. The days when kabaddi, dandi biyo andchungiwere a common scene in the streets of Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal are now lost. When asked about what baghchalwas, Abhishrey Joshi, studying in the fifth grade at Rosebud School College, said, ‘I have no idea what that is. It is not in my PSP.’

These games from back in the day are good for people of all ages. They help in physical as well as mental development. Kabaddiis an energetic sport played between two teams with seven members each. The main point of the game is to run to the half of the opposition’s area, tag as many opponents you can, and run back to one’s half. The game is very good for the body, physically. Similarly, dandi biyoresembles modern day cricket. Only the sport is played with a small piece of wood, the biyo, replacing the ball and a baton instead of the bat. Chungiis a small loose ball made by using several rubber bands. A player tries to juggle a chungiwith his leg as many times as he can without letting it fall to the ground - the higher the count, the higher the score.

Likewise, baghchalis a board game that requires heavy thinking and resembles the game of chess. There are several other track and field sports like teeta, machha kari, gattaandpittothat originated in Nepal but they are in serious deprivation of the kind of hype received by popular, modern games. The only places where the traditional Nepali games are still played are in the remote corners where the influence of the modern games is yet to reach.
There are several guilty sides to be blamed for the sorry state of Nepali games. The government is to blame to a large extent. The government, so far, has done nothing to preserve these traditional Nepali games that are so closely linked to Nepali culture and lifestyle. The second culprit is the media who only consider modern sports stories and stories on famous sports personalities and big tournaments as being newsworthy. Electronic and print media, which have the power to bring attention to traditional sports, are simply not interested. Moreover, corporate houses only sponsor sports like cricket and football. Beach cricket and league football attracts plenty of money but no one cares about the games that have been played on our soil for the longest time. We, the people however, are the biggest convicts here.We should be playing games that were born in our nation instead of blindly following modern trends.  If we do not gear up for the development of our core games then a day will come when these games will only be found in
history books.

It is high time for us to rejuvenate all the lost Nepali sports and bring them back to life. We can learn a lot from an example from Japan. Sumo wrestling has been played for centuries and is still played with the same zeal and enthusiasm. The Nepalese people need to learn from them about preserving our culture, tradition and our sports. Youngsters need to play our very own games too instead of playing foreign games or even just videogames. Parents should encourage their children to play those sports that they are familiar with and which they played in their own childhood. Failure to do this will result in us losing these games forever.

Interesting Facts
1.Dandi biyo is the national sport of Nepal. Kabaddi is also referred as the national sport of Nepal, at times.

2. The First Swiss Bagh Chal Tournament was held in Bern in January 2003. The event was organized by David Levine who loved the board game after his visit to Nepal. Among the 200 participants, Ruth Kaeser won the tournament and also the Bronze Tiger Trophy.

3. Nepal participated in the 2007 KabaddiWorld Cup hosted by India. Nepal lost to Bangladesh in the quarter-finals. India won the World Cup.

4. Tiger Tops Resort in Nepal is the headquarters of Elephant Polo in the world. Tiger Tops is also the site of the World Elephant Polo Championship held every year.

5. ‘Nepal Dandi Biyo’ Association held the first National Dandi Biyo Tournament in Kathmandu on June 6, 2010. 33 sports associations participated in the tournament. Paragliding and Hang-gliding Association clinched the title.